Posted by Quotable on April 03, 2003 at 07:59:48
"Nothing could be further from truth. The Taliban, the mullahs in Iran, and other assorted fundamentalists despise the United States for its culture and envy it for its power. The wealth, technology, and freedom of America's global culture - from bare navels to the Internet - have challenged fundamentalists, who are wedded to a medieval world of perpetual stasis. That terrorists use frequent-flyer miles and cell phones to kill us only sharpens that paradox, and accentuates their dual sentiments of envy and inadequacy. For the record, in the last ten years, the United States freed the Arab and Islamic state of Kuwait, opposed Saddam Hussein and his murder of Islamic Kurds and Shiites, prevented Muslim Afghanistan from becoming a Soviet satrapy, and saved the Muslims of Bosnia and Kosovo from extinction - as European and 'moderate' Arab states watched the carnage of their neighbors and kin. The majority of the terrorists that surround bin Laden are from the upper and middle classes of Arab society, are highly educated, and are driven to murder by hatred and envy, not hunger or exploitation. They are a world apart from the starving in South America and Africa, who do not crash airliners into office towers. These terrorists hate us for who we are, not what we have done."
From "War Myths - What not to believe" by Victor Davis Hanson. The author most recently of "Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power."
(Note that this was written right after 9/11)